Background
Malignant ovarian germ cell tumours (MOGCTs) are usually detected at an early stage, with patients achieving a satisfactory prognosis. However, the role of staging surgery in the treatment of apparent early‐stage MOGCTs remains controversial.

Aims
To investigate the role of staging procedures in apparent early‐stage patients.

Materials and Methods
We performed a retrospective review of 102 patients who were diagnosed with MOGCTs and had malignant lesions confined to their ovaries, between January 1997 and October 2014 at the Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital of Fudan University, Shanghai, China. Statistical analysis was carried out using SPSS software which included survival analysis by Kaplan–Meier method and Fisher’s exact test.

Results
Three patients relapsed and one died. The five‐year overall survival rate and disease‐free survival rate were 98.7% and 96.4%, respectively. Eighty‐nine patients (87.3%) received adjuvant chemotherapy and only 23 patients (22.5%) were completely staged. In total, 3/49 (6.1%), 1/44 (2.3%) and 0/49 (0.0%) patients were diagnosed with malignant cells in peritoneal fluid, pelvic lymph nodes and omentum, respectively. Positive tumour cells were not correlated with recurrence. Univariate analysis revealed that neither complete staging surgery nor individual factors were useful prognostic factors for disease‐free survival.

Conclusions
The staging surgery could be omitted for apparent early‐stage patients affected by MOGCTs without adverse impact upon survival.